Jump to navigation

Crafts Council

Home // What We Do // February 2016 Policy Brief

February 2016 Policy Brief


The place of creative education in the curriculum

Findings in the National Society for Education in Art and Design Survey Report 2015-16 show that in the last five years government policies have impacted not only on the value of the subject, but on the time and resources needed for children and young people to participate and excel in art, craft and design. At least a third and up to 44% of teacher responses over all key stages indicate that time allocated for art and design had decreased in the last five years. (And with a focus on craft – we’ve just kicked of work towards Studying Craft 16, our longitudinal study of craft education and training, available in June.)

In the US, the University of Virginia finds that accountability pressures are heightening the focus on academic skills and reducing opportunities for play in kindergartens. In addition, researchers found that while academic instruction increased, time spent teaching arts substantially decreased.

Meanwhile, members of the House of Lords debated their concerns about access to a broad-based education (column GC55) under new plans for schools to have a target of entering 90% of pupils for EBacc (English Baccalaureate) GSCE subjects. Lord Nash, for the Government, drew attention to the low number of pupils taking ‘core academic subjects’. The Crafts Council provided a briefing for the debate.

Louise Jury explains in Arts Professional how the Creative Industries Federation is making the case for arts education.

EU membership survey

The UK referendum on membership of the European Union takes place on 23 June. It offers an opportunity to look again at how UK culture remains world-leading; how British artists, creative businesses and cultural organisations thrive creatively and commercially; and how everyone in the UK can benefit from their artistic output. Tell us your views!

Note also that the Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, and Arts Minister, Ed Vaizey, appear to be backing opposing campaign teams in the run-up to the referendum.

Fill out the survey on artists’ livelihoods!

Arts Council England has commissioned a new national study, to find out directly from visual artists in England about the economic, social and cultural factors which affect their ability to develop a sustainable practice.  The Crafts Council is a member of the steering group.

Artists’ Livelihoods: A comprehensive study of how artists in England live and work is the first study in over a decade to document the realities of practicing as a visual artist. Findings will inform future support. We encourage you to complete the survey before 25 March.

The economy

Nesta’s interesting infographic shows how craft employment is concentrated the most in NE England, West Midlands and South West, in contrast to all other creative industries for which London has the highest concentration (see slide 4). Craft does not employ more people, but within the craft population, the higher numbers are outside London.

A University of Luxembourg study concludes that the international art market is overheating, creating the potential for a “severe correction” in some segments. The authors of the report say conditions are remarkably similar to the bubble of 1990 and the market is still inflating.

Creative United’s UK Contemporary Gallery Report 2015/16 shows how the contemporary art market is polarising.

Arts Quarter’s findings on Revenue Generation in the Arts: 2015-16 shows the sector has an ever-shifting revenue mix, moving away from statutory sources to a more mixed model of revenue generation in the aftermath of the recession.

Pushing boundaries: the 2015 UK alternative finance industry report is a study of 94 crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms. It finds that in 2015 the alternative finance market grew to £3.2 billion. The market is taking an increasing share of small business lending and start-up investment. After real estate, technology, manufacturing & engineering are the top sectors for investment.

And 2015 had the highest number of new businesses on record – with a total of 608,100 started – suggesting a deep cultural shift towards entrepreneurialism is underway.

Cultural impact

The Impact of AHRC Research 2014 – 2015 features findings on developing new craft skills and how craft drove research in the CinBA project, a Crafts Council/University of Southampton and partners’ study on Creativity and Craft Production in Middle and Late Bronze Age Europe.

The report also explores the impact of University of Central Lancashire Silicates Research Unit’s prototypes of a new material made of recycled glass, ceramic and mineral waste, Beyond the Creative Campus - a guide to help improve understanding of the dynamics and engagement between the higher education, arts and creative sectors, as well as the Brighton Fuse study of creative-digital cluster development.

Connecting through culture 2014-15 reports on a wide range of cultural and creative activity across all faculties at King’s College, London and shows the impact of culture on all areas of university life.

GPS Culture’s A Policy for the Arts and Culture in England The Next Steps? recommends how regional centres can work with international and metropolitan peers as equal partners and calls for arts and culture to play a leading role in supporting and enhancing individual and local community wellbeing.

Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt’s Cultural Value Project blog explores how cultural engagement can enhance survival rates.

Arts Council England research shows the different ways older people (aged 65+) value arts and culture. 76% of older people say arts and culture is important in making them feel happy. The survey also highlights how arts and cultural activities could potentially help to tackle key social issues such as loneliness and isolation.

Public Health England’s Arts for health and wellbeing: An evaluation framework provides guidance on appropriate ways of documenting the impacts of arts for health.


The Department for Culture Media and Sport’s new plan 2015 to 2020 sets out how it will address the following priorities:

1. Growing the economy

2. Connecting the UK

3. Encouraging participation

4. Sustaining excellence and promoting Britain

5. Supporting our media

6. Ensuring social responsibility